Springfield is the home of Abe Lincoln. It’s where he bought the only home he ever owned and where he is buried. It’s a quaint place, pretty quiet but spread over quite a large area.
We set out early with a focus on breakfast (given we skipped dinner last night). Word amongst those in the Route 66 know suggested either Jungle Jim’s or Cozy Dogs (https://www.facebook.com/Jungle-Jims-Cafe-155419487819360/ – http://www.cozydogdrivein.com/) – needless to say we eventually tried them both.
It was no easy path to breakfast though. The dilemma began with the fact that parking had cost us $7 for 24 hours and we had a good few hours of that left to use. If we removed the car to go to the distant suburbs where these restaurants were located we would incur a second charge. It should tell a tale about my love of food versus my meanness that we stayed hungry so that we could keep our car parked at the hotel while visiting Lincoln’s House. I’m not food daft you know.
This is Abe’s writing desk which is one of few original pieces in the house. This is the spot where the man who finally abolished slavery from the United States sat. He was a reluctant president we were told and he lived four years into his presidency before he was shot. It was a pretty inspiring place and you get a real sense of how much the people of the US respect him.
They revere him so much they have rubbed his nose down to the metal on this sculpture located in front of his tomb.
Apparently it is good luck to rub his nose and, to be fair, we had a go just in case it’s true.
I pretended to be interested in the tour for about another half an hour before the hunger pangs really started to take hold.
The car was removed from the parking lot and off to Jungle Jim’s we went.
My breakfast was medium rare ribeye steak with hash browns and eggs ‘over easy’ while my good lady had her usual French Toast with maple syrup and whipped butter. With tea (‘not iced! You mean you want it hot?’) it cost us $30 with a decent tip and a baseball cap souvenir. It was good value but the food was nothing compared with what we had at Lou Mitchell’s. Lucky for us we only had to wait a couple of hours before going to Cozy Dog for our next meal (come on, we had to catch up from last night!)
Cozy Dog offers corn dogs on a stick. I loved them but I was alone on that one. The well cooked fries were great and the little cafe is really great fun.
There’s so much love in a corn dog!
And they have so much respect for a woman’s opinion.
The bill was under $20 but what we ordered was really only a top up. I could probably have had four corn dogs with a proper hunger.
The long road to St Louis lay ahead and we really only stopped for an ice cream on the way at a modern roadside gas station. It is curious to consider that they might be the future locations of nostalgia in the way that these Route 66 icons have become.
St Louis is famed for its Arch marking the way west. The city is considered the gateway west and it is from here that the road turns that way. We’ve now passed through the whole of Illinois and crossed the Mississippi (correct spelling) to Missouri.
The arch is difficult to describe because I think you just have to stand near it to get any sense of the sheer scale of it and just how incredible the engineer must have been to build it. It defies description. I captured the first moment we saw it here
This is us coming off the interstate into the city and seeing the arch as we approached our hotel.
There’s a car that takes you to the top where you can look across the city and South or back across the state of Illinois. The murky Mississippi (right again) sits just under it. You have to lean over a window to see out.
But if you think that is colossal!
Check out the burger from http://www.calecos.com/ in Downtown St Louis.
This burger is a final confirmation that St Louis is very easy to miss the importance of. You wouldn’t really think of a holiday here for any other reason than it being a part of Route 66. But consider this burger a damn good reason to make the journey. I once declared that I made the best burger in New York after much frustration at finding one. It was hiding in St Louis!
The meat was perfect, soft like the bun and char-grilled. I put Provelone Cheese, bacon and onion as extra toppings. We had soft rolls and butter as a free starter and two drinks for $30.
It completes a wonderful section of this trip and hopefully hints at how great things get as we venture West towards the Pacific. We have two hundred miles to go tomorrow but I feel well fuelled.